Thomas McColl



Look at That!

‘Look at that!
a top hat on a tea pot,’
you shout,
as we stop just a little too close
to a china display in the shop
and, with a swipe of your hand,
you make a fat pot-headed Victorian gentleman
involuntarily doff his hat,
and a second later,
you realise why he doesn’t do that –
even though he’s Victorian
and you’re a lady
(albeit a little madam) –
when his hat
(which, foolishly,
he’d had made
out of posh china
rather than plush silk)
smashes into pieces on the floor.

And while you sob and sulk at the realisation,
I pay the bill for the damage,
while keeping an eye out,
as I’m carrying you,
that you don’t knock any
of the many
ornate objects
crowded round the till,
but instead your damned dinky destructive digit
starts prodding the top of my face,
and my invisible top hat
(which, foolishly,
I’d had made out of frayed nerves
rather than woven silk)
is once more pushed to the edge,
and once more
(just about)
remains in place.


Thomas McColl lives in London, and has had poems published in Envoi, Iota, Prole, Incubator Journal and previously in IS&T. His first full collection, Being With Me Will Help You Learn, is available from Listen Softly London Press.

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Judi Walsh for National Flash Fiction Day



All Events Must Have Rules


There are birds nesting in the roof of the porch. I don’t know what type of birds they are but they judge us for being young and inexperienced. Today I am not here for an official visit, and the officials would haul me in if they knew. On Sundays we sit in lines, reciting lines. On Sundays there are only two ways to look- ahead or down. But every other day we run in circles, playing kiss-chase. Some of us run straight over the graves without caring, but some of us jump at the last minute. Some of us are playing, but we are never really part of the game.





Judi Walsh started writing short fiction in 2012. Her work has been listed for several awards, including the Salt Flash Fiction Prize 2012, National Flash Fiction Micro Competition 2016 and the Bath Flash Fiction and Novella-In-Flash awards 2017.


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Sharon Phillips




Imagine that you’re sitting
on the edge of your bed.
Perhaps you’re shaving your legs.
And you see that the floor
is covered with dust.

Wherever you look there’s dust
and the longer you look
the more dust there is
but you do not fetch
the hoover or dustpan

because your father has just died
so you sit on the edge of your bed
look at the floor and think
that you might stay there
counting the motes of dust.

Imagine that you’re sitting
on the edge of your bed.
You remember your father’s arms
brown against the white sheets,
the dry scrape of his breath

and you are lost
in the uncountable
spaces of grief


Sharon Phillips retired from a career in education in 2015 and started to write poems and short stories again, after a break of forty years. She lives in Dorset with her husband, two cats and two dogs and is currently doing an MA in creative writing.  Sharon’s poems have been published in Snakeskin and Three Drops from the Cauldron, and on Algebra of Owls and Amaryllis.

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David Hanlon





looking out of
our bedroom window
at the car park
in the distance,
how long
you will be.

Killing time,
we drop
your Action Man
out of
the window,
the one we’ve tied
a carrier bag to
as a poor,
makeshift parachute.

The wind isn’t strong
enough for him
to glide
like we want
him to;
instead, he plunges
to the ground
with a thud




David Hanlon is from Cardiff, Wales, and has recently moved to Bristol. He believes the reflective nature of his current studies in Counselling, and the artistic influences of his previous degree in Film Studies, have engendered this new creative endeavour.


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Anna-May Laugher




House Share

Mice make themselves as thin as envelopes to fit under your doors. I am amused, until a mother mouse drags her deformed infant to the middle of the room. Bald, rosy, twitching on the floor. I stop next-door’s cat from hooking it away. How small should creatures be to die ignored? What is the cut-off point in size? I’d like to know if there’s no need to cry.  That dormitory of ladybirds who sleep behind the blinds, dream on. False widow spiders tweak their sheets of silk. A white wave moth flickers on the sill. You have the strangest definition of living by yourself.

Anna-May Laugher is a prize winning poet. Her work has been widely anthologised. Titles include Poetry and all that Jazz, Three Drops from a Cauldron and Sophie Hannah’s The Poetry of Sex. Online her poems have been featured on Amaryllis; And Other Poems; and Ink, Sweat and Tears. She has written for the Reading Museum Project ‘A Sense of Place’ and for ‘From Palette to Pen’ for the Holburne Museum in Bath. Her first pamphlet is published by new press Luminous Road.

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Angelica Krikler





Plants grow out of her eyes
Because all she sees in him is the beauty of nature
The chants she stops in her day to listen to
The air she exhales
And the mud she wipes from her feet
But nature is a vicious cycle
Two seas mix, the water never settles
Endlessly floating from the plaits in her hair and the sandy pebbles on the shore
Like the granules in a coffee pot
Weight on shoulders
Hands on the small of her back
Magnetic air between mouths
One day she’ll know what to spend her money on
One day she’ll know how to reply
She will lift up the old carpet
Dragging a tree away from its roots
Realising soon that sometimes nature must be cut away
In order to see the daylight




Angelica Krikler is 16, lives in Essex and writes fiction and poetry outside of school. Her poem ‘Bacteria’ was published on the online Y-Magazine and another poem ‘Cleopatra’ is published in the latest issue of


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